Sighs too Deep for Words

by Pastor Charlie Woodward


Come Holy Spirit!

Sighs too deep for words. This past Sunday, we celebrated the power of the Holy Spirit entering into the place where the disciples were “sheltering in place” with the rush of a violent wind. A word used to describe the Spirit in scripture is “dunamis” – a Greek word from which we get the word “dynamite!” Power!

And yet, the Spirit cannot be described with just this attribute. The Spirit is so much more. The Spirit also comes in the stillness and silence and darkness.

The Spirit intercedes when all that we can do is sigh, or grunt, or weep. The Spirit shows up when words might fail us, and all that we can produce is tears.

The Spirit intercedes.
When words fail us in our prayers. When there are no words that can capture the depths of our thoughts and feelings and very being. When we are without. God provides.
Have you ever struggled to find the right words to pray? Do you ever feel you don’t know how to pray, because the words just get jumbled and you stumble to say something? “I can’t pray – that’s the pastor’s job.”
There is a wonderful scene in the movie “Sister Act” when the undercover nun is asked to pray for the meal. This is her prayer:

Romans 8:26-27

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts … and, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of no food, I shall fear no hunger. We want you to give us this day our daily bread … and to the republic for which it stands … by the power vested in me, I now pronounce us, ready to eat. Amen.

Sometimes I believe we get in the way of the Spirit interceding on our behalf.

Here is the good news – God’s life-giving Spirit is with you. In the waters of baptism, God’s promised Spirit comes upon us and remains with us.

Trust and never doubt!

Be open to the Spirit interceding on your behalf.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Amen. Come Holy Spirit.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, thank you for your Holy Spirit that comes to us in power and tenderness. Fill us, and speak with us and for us. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Leave a Reply